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How to test amps properly?

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Nathan Riddle:
tl;dr -> Can someone do a simple writeup of the most important features to look at in an amplifier?


So I've always wanted to learn more about testing amps. Then this thread popped up.

When I say learn more, I'm saying I don't want to continue reading about this, I want to put some stuff into motion.
What excites me is that amps don't make noise (much) unless they explode :P
I've wanted to test more speakers, but I don't have an easy close place to take speakers to and blast music.
I have a number of various amps from low-end Behringer to high-end LineaResearch.

Anyone care to walk me through the process?

Materials:
Software: Smaart, REW, RITA.
Interface: RME/UMC404
Hardware: Linear-X
DUT: D50, NU4-6000, RMX2450, XTI-4002, PLD4.5, iTech8k, DNA20K4

Resources:
I know there is CAF
Data-Bass has some good testing methodologies, but they are for subs not amps.

Personally I'm most fond of this style:
http://diy.poweraudio.ro/albums/userpics/10001/BENCH_COMPARISON_TEST.pdf
I can't find/remember the source.
But this method of testing makes sense to me and is easy to read/understand.

Other resources:
https://www.prosoundtraining.com/2010/03/11/big-dummy-load/
http://www.prosoundtraining.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/L1109_Amped_Up.pdf

John Roberts {JR}:
I don't know how good your search skills are, or the old forum data here, but Bink did a very extensive amplifier testing "shoot-out" a number of years ago right here.

There was much discussion about difficulties getting objective results.  Hint- it isn't trivial.

JR

Nathan Riddle:

--- Quote from: John Roberts {JR} on November 10, 2019, 10:00:21 am ---I don't know how good your search skills are, or the old forum data here, but Bink did a very extensive amplifier testing "shoot-out" a number of years ago right here.

There was much discussion about difficulties getting objective results.  Hint- it isn't trivial.

JR

--- End quote ---

Thanks John,

I think this is what you were referring to: http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=70922.0

Finding the actual files and testing procedure is proving to be more difficult.

---

Let's set some parameters.

I don't want to exhaustively test equipment.
I don't want to spend too much money.

I know I'm not at the same level as anyone of these guys or y'all here.
My goal is to do some simple tests that help me grow in my skill and understanding of the equipment we use.
I dream of being mentored by someone like Langston, Bink, JR, et alia.

Just get a little dirt under my fingernails ;)



---

Other resources:
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=74914.0
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=90765.0
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=76266.0
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=97418.20
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=73706.30

This guy is amazing... GEQ testing too.
https://web.archive.org/web/20090317091210/http://binkster.net/geq_shootout.shtml

John Roberts {JR}:

--- Quote from: Nathan Riddle on November 10, 2019, 12:29:08 pm ---Thanks John,

I think this is what you were referring to: http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=70922.0

Finding the actual files and testing procedure is proving to be more difficult.

---

Let's set some parameters.

I don't want to exhaustively test equipment.
I don't want to spend too much money.

I know I'm not at the same level as anyone of these guys or y'all here.
My goal is to do some simple tests that help me grow in my skill and understanding of the equipment we use.
I dream of being mentored by someone like Langston, Bink,

Just get a little dirt under my fingernails ;)



---

Other resources:
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=74914.0
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=90765.0
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=76266.0
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=97418.20
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=73706.30

This guy is amazing... GEQ testing too.
https://web.archive.org/web/20090317091210/http://binkster.net/geq_shootout.shtml

--- End quote ---
I worked for years as product manager over all power amps for Peavey. It is all too easy to draw incorrect conclusions from flawed testing.

Modern amplifiers are quite good (better than decades ago) so I wouldn't expect to easily find objective differences between them in casual testing that would represent actual real world performance. Bink and others attempted to use rigor and discipline in their old tests.

This has been pretty much beat to death here over the decades.

JR

Nathan Riddle:

--- Quote from: John Roberts {JR} on November 10, 2019, 01:41:43 pm ---I worked for years as product manager over all power amps for Peavey. It is all too easy to draw incorrect conclusions from flawed testing.

Modern amplifiers are quite good (better than decades ago) so I wouldn't expect to easily find objective differences between them in casual testing that would represent actual real world performance. Bink and others attempted to use rigor and discipline in their old tests.

This has been pretty much beat to death here over the decades.

JR

--- End quote ---

1) I respect you, your experience and what you're saying. Thank you for your help.
2) I am listening to you, but sidelining my request due to a lack of rigor & discipline isn't fair. I want to get started. The intellectual journey is long and full side quests. Help me get the basics?
3) I agree the statements have been made about modern amps ad nauseam. I disagree that it wouldn't be helpful to ME to learn some simple tests that are useful.

Perhaps let me rephrase.

JR, would you kindly tell me the first 3 simple tests you would do if you had two amps on the table and wanted to compare the major differences.
Given the following test equipment: o'scope; dual FFT; and a 1ch 4kw 2ohm load bank; w/ voltage & amp probes rated for 4kw.

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